The Pacific states of the USA are a west coast wonderland; a world-famous hop-growing region in the north, and some of the finest craft breweries in existence scattered all the way down the seaboard. It’s no wonder that West Coast pales and IPAs are regarded so highly, and brewed so often. These styles have come to embody everything great about the aroma and flavour of American hops, and the ideal environment in which to enjoy them. Just close your eyes, and picture yourself clutching a fresh, hoppy pale ale. You’re on a beach in California; the breezy citrus and floral aromas mix with a blast of sea air, and soft sand warms your feet. Perfect.
Then you open your eyes and you remember you’re in Glasgow, it’s December, and it’s raining. Again.
So we did the only sensible thing we could under these circumstances; we brewed Cruising California, a vibrant, aromatic American pale ale to bring back that summery feeling. And, given it’s the annual Season of Excess, we’ve brewed it to an easy-going 1.2% ABV. (We still have a 12% BA barleywine on the board, don't get upset.)
Cruising California is first and foremost, an American pale ale; truckloads of fresh, pithy citrus aroma up-front, with a light body, a hint of toasty malt, and a prickle of carbonation. We’ve foregone any kettle hop additions to keep the bitterness down - at this ABV, balancing a pale ale is a battle against astringency - and instead we’ve whirlpool and dry-hopped it with copious amounts of Citra; the natural oils and resins adding to the smooth mouthfeel and enhancing the texture. The result - a low-ABV beer that punches above its weight.
On the aroma there’s a big hit of myrcene (a characteristic component of American hops), lime pith, grapefruit zest, and pine needles. The palate features a soft bitterness, a building orange oil flavour, and an underlying biscuit malt presence. This lightly hazy, pale copper beer finishes light and dry, with a hint of bite.
And what of beer’s soulmate, food? When it comes to matching up the fresh, aromatic notes of pale ales, unsurprisingly enough the cuisine of the US west coast holds the answer. Seafood is perfect with an APA - fish tacos or crab cakes are considered classics, but closer to home (and helpfully on our new Brewhouse menu) there’s beer-cured salmon, or alternatively a British staple like fish and chips (ours features a crispy Bearface Lager batter).
Cruising California is pouring now, at our Brewhouse Bar & Kitchen, so be sure to head down and give it a try!
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